Thursday, June 15, 2006

Why can't I have a crap in peace?


My kids have got dump radar. Or something.

It seems every time I sit on the bog to have a crap either Callan or Briony will come in. "Dad! I need a wee!"

Now, I'm not one to rush having a dump. What's required is a magazine, or a book, and 5 minutes peace and quiet. Is it too much to ask?

"Can't you wait? I'm having a poo here".
"Aw, Dad, I'm desperate"
Fuck's sake. I've got to wipe my arse, and stand about, pants around my ankles until they're done and then try and continue. But the moment is lost, that zen moment when its just me, my arse, the pan and this month's Chasseur Francais.

To make it worse, whenever any of my family come into the bathroom when I'm mid dump (like, which is always) they then hassle me about the smell.
"Poo, Dad, that stinks" or my wife's favorite quote from The Young Ones - "Cor, I can't breathe that, I'm a vegetarian!"

Look. Your shit stinks too.

I say to my wife, "You know why my shit smells?"
"Why?" she asks, expecting some scientific link between Y-chromosomes and the activity of bacteria in the colon.
"Because it's SHIT. And it comes out of my ARSE". Dammit shit is supposed to smell. Everybody's shit stinks. It's bad enough having your dump time interupted without also carrying the burden of allegedly being the smelliest man in Europe.

Euphamisms for having a shit:
having a dump
laying a cable
having a dump
parking a coil
laying the brown eggs of spite
build a log cabin
blow mud
crop spraying
blind dirt snake
Richard the Third
check out the roast
light a bum cigar

See more at The Profanisaurus. Since Viz has released it as a book it is inaccessible at their site.

An definition that made me spew my tea:
biffon n. That part of the female anatomy between the bottom and the vagina, which the man's balls biff on during intercourse.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Alcohol in Rural France

French drinking habits and tastes are very different to thos of the English (and probably the Americans too)

First there are differences in the amount they drink and the times they drink. This I know because I live opposite a cafe/bar/tabac and I can see all the comings and goings. Often its me that's doing the coming and going. (Purely for research reasons you understand)

The French drink all day. The farmers will come into the cafe at 9:30 in the morning, have a drink (a wine or a kir) and then straight back into the fields. Then they'll be back at 11:30 for a pre-lunch aperatif. Back again at 5:30 for a pre dinner aperatif, and if they're feeling sociable they'll be back at 7:30 for a few more.
But here's the difference between them and the English - they very rarely get drunk. They drink a little, often. The English on the other hand will hit the pub straight after work, and down 4 or 5 pints, get 2 more in at the shout of last orders and stagger out of the pub at 11:00.

Then there are the differences in what they drink. Here in France, most commonly drunk is red wine. The vin ordinaire can sometimes be VERY ordinaire, but often its not too bad. At 60 centimes a glass (that's 75 US cents or 41p) its not too bad at all. If the wine's a bit rough then it will be tempered with lemonade. On a hot day Kir is very popular (white wine and cassis). Beer from the bottle - the usual Kronenbourg and other bland lagers, or from the pump. Half a litre glass of beer here is 1:60 ($2.02, £1.10). It's not uncommon to add menthe or fraise or an orange liqueur called Picon.
Never forget all the varieties of Pastis - an aniseed flavour drink that is clear until water is added, and then it turns cloudy. There are many brands (Ricard, Pastis 51) and they vary in their range of colour along a white/yellow spectrum.
There is a particularly nasty aperitif made from the plant Gentian. One of the brands is called "Suze". It is as bitter as all hell and makes your lips stick to your teeth. It is drunk with cassis or menthe and I have tried it a few times, but it just won't come right.
Here in the Charente there is a fortified wine called Pineau which is very pleasant when chilled. All the locals make their own brews and it is always excellent to have a well made home brewed Pineau. Surprisingly, cognac is rarely drunk at the cafe. probably too expensive.

The French here have NO idea about whisky. At our cafe they sell "Paddys". Primo - it's Irish whisky, not scotch and segundo its crap. But they think that's what whisky is supposed to taste like. Not surprisingly they mix it with orange cordial and call it a "Bibi". Best thing for it short of pouring down the sink.